Tuesday, 24 November 2009

An interview with The School

I know I've rattled on ridiculously about The School lately, but so what? They're great. And here's an interview with that Liz. I make no apologies. I just hope her boss isn't reading.

What are you up to today?

I'm at work on the internet.

How was the Nottingham all-dayer for you?

Amazing, one of my favourite School gigs of all time. The day itself was very long and tiring but in a good way, there were so many great bands on the bill. We finally got to watch bands we hadn't seen before like The Just Joans, and saw old favourites like Allo' Darlin, Tender Trap and the Rocky Nest. Our set was fun, it was the first time some of us had met (there are so many of us now and getting everyone together at the same time is difficult!) so it was a little shambolic but a lot of fun. The crowd were fantastic, I didn't expect so many people to know our songs let alone be able to shout them back louder than me!

The album seems to have been a long time coming. Any reason for this, or are just a perfectionist?

It was 30% due to bad luck with timing e.g. having to wait for the Christmas drop before releasing it in the new year, it was recorded ages ago! 30% writer's block mainly due to personnel changes causing some delays, 40% perfectionism. I didn't want any fillers, I wanted something that I'd listen to over and over again. I feel bad keeping everyone waiting and hope they feel it's worth it, people don't seem to have forgotten about us which is a good sign. Also Elefant wanted to give plenty of time to promote it properly - there are so many albums that I don't even realise have come out yet, we want to make a big fuss! The long wait has been good for me though because I've had time to start writing the second album, so there shouldn't be such a long wait next time.

What's with all the personnel changes? Is this just bad luck or a conscious decision?

A mixture of both really. Some people weren't able to be in the band due to personal commitments, some really weren't suitable and didn't have their hearts in it, and some just left. We're still looking for a permanent guitarist but have 2 people on board to stand in until we find the right person - there's such a lack of indiepop musicians in Cardiff. The person I regret losing the most is Rob who left because being in a Cardiff band when you live in Birmingham just isn't practical, and there's also that other band he's in (The Voluntary Butler Scheme) who are a bit good aren't they?!! Rob just seemed to 'get' us. But the rest of the band at the moment are fantastic, I couldn't ask for a nicer bunch of people, I've certainly found some musical soulmates there..

Is it annoying that you've had to go overseas to get your records released?

I didn't really consider where labels were based when I initially sent off the demos, we only sent a few to people we loved and Elefant had always been the ambition, but I didn't expect them to react so well - I assumed they'd only end up listening to us after we'd released a few singles and even then would never have thought we'd be an Elefant band, I feel so very lucky.

Looking back now it was the right decision, I could've waited around to see if other labels were interested or tried going after big advances, but it wasn't what I was looking for. Elefant have such a good reputation and back catalogue, a loyal fanbase, and they're genuinely wonderful people. They've been going for 20 years now so have got good connections, they're well respected all over the world and they know what they're doing!

What's been your best moment as a band so far?

The Nottingham alldayer, playing Indietracks in 2007 and 2009, getting to play outside the UK and watching the Spanish film 'Yo, Tambien' which features two of our songs - 'I Don't Believe in Love' and 'Kiss You in the Snow', it was unreal.

You're also involved in organising gigs in Cardiff. What's the response like over there?

It's good actually, we've been promoting under the name Loose for several years now, the first one being an alldayer with The Loves, then I was hooked. We've put on some amazing acts like Daniel Johnston, Of Montreal, Shonen Knife, Vivian Girls, Neko Case, Marnie Stern, Mae Shi, Broken Family Band, Apples in Stereo.. but we also get to bring indiepop bands here that wouldn't have made it otherwise, like Saturday Looks Good to Me, The Motifs, Lucky Soul, Speedmarket Avenue, Brontosaurus Chorus, Dressy Bessy, Still Flyin'.. loads! It's taken a long time to perfect the gigs, establish a small following and get contacts with agents but I think we do ok.. I've just got a job in-house at 2 venues we've been using so it's my dream job, and hopefully will free up more of my spare time to dedicate to School activities!

This looks like you're biggest tour to date. What it's like travelling around with such a big band?

It's exciting! After all this time and playing so many shows we still get really excited about playing any gig like small children, no matter the size or location. We absolutely love playing live and meeting people, it's probably the best thing about being in a band, but also getting to hang around with each other all day, we all get on really well. It'll be the first time we've travelled with so many people as some couldn't get time off work previously, but we've tried extra hard to make it work for the album tour. Harri owns a minibus so we'll be going around in that with Allo, Darlin'. We've still got a couple more shows to announce but it should be approx 12-13 dates in the UK, followed by 4 in Germany, 5 in Italy and then some Spanish dates in April/May.

Where do you get your dresses from?

I need new ones so badly!! Some are from eBay, some have been fiddled with from charity shop bits and some are Liz originals (the wonky ones) - I'm learning how to sew at the moment, I'm really really bad right now, but hopefully in March there'll be a whole new selection of slightly less wonky Liz dresses!


Dennis said...

Boo, Liz never answered to my questions (long ago, I guess I'll forgive her). Nice interview.

The School said...

which ones? email them again and i'll answer them now!! sorry theschoolband@hotmail.com xx

String Bean Jen said...

That's sweet to know you alter and are starting to make some of your own dresses, Liz! I always admire them. And I need a kick up the ass to get out my sewing machine and make something more than a skirt.

Dennis said...

Haha Liz, don't worry; it's been one or two years or so, I think. But I might make new questions for you some day soon! Perhaps the old ones never arrived.

Colin said...

can't wait for the new album to come out!